Caramoan Island Hopping

Since the owner of the Pension House owns a boat too, we decided to get his boat rental for P2500. Most of the famous islands in Caramoan were closed due to Survivor taping (which was really a big disappointment) that’s why we had no choice but to see only two islands which were spared for the tourists. Well, thank you then Mr. Governor!

camarines surpic from pinoy exchange

We spent a 30 minute rough ride to Pical Port to catch the boat for our island hopping tour. Since most of the nice islands and beaches were closed, Cotivas Island and Manlawi Sandbar were the only places where we could go. I think there was another island that we were supposed to go but since we would be visiting Brgy. Tabgon, Nelson decided not to include it in the list.

caramoan islandearly morning at Pical Port

We reached Pical Port at around eight in the morning. There were also a few people who would go island hopping that day. BIL even bumped into his batchmate from UST, who happened to be the son of the Mayor of Caramoan, whom we also met that day. Got the bragging rite eh?! Well, talking to him was like being inside the freezer.. sa sobrang hangin, super din ang lamig! πŸ˜€

caramoan islandJohannah: Caramoan Bed & Dine’s boat

camarines sur, bicolCotivas Island

caramoan peninsulalow tide in the morning

It took us almost an hour and a half in going to this island. Unfortunately, it was low tide. Even if you’ve walked a few meters away, the water won’t go waist deep. 😦 The water was crystal clear and aside from that, the place was blessed with so many starfish. πŸ™‚ Since it was low tide, they were scattered in the sand. Some were even folding their arms/rays, some were hard and some were soft. They came in different colors too. What a beautiful sight!

camarines sur, bicola few cottages in the island at P50

camarines sur, bicolanother island next to Cotivas Island

There was an island next to Cotivas Island, where we planned to check. Unfortunately, there were many sea urchins scattered everywhere. Actually, without those sea urchins, we would be able to set our feet in that island since it was low tide. Water was just leg deep. πŸ™‚ A sandbar appeared to us a few meters away from our cottage. It was close to where our boat was. How could you enjoy swimming in this beautiful beach if the water is not that deep? 😦

Sandbar close to Cotivas Island

at the other side of Cotivas Island

After we had our lunch, Kuya Nelson decided to leave the island and head to Manlawi Sandbar. Of course, we were kinda excited that we could finally take a dip. It took us around an hour to reach the sandbar. The place were kinda crowded, boats were everywhere as well as the people enjoying their stay. Floating cottages were available for P200. OMG, so expensive! πŸ˜€

caramoan islandfloating cottage at P200 each

waist deep water at Manlawi Sandbar

caramoan islandsphoto shoot?

caramoan islandheaven for camera addicts

I think this was the place where most people enjoyed the most. How did I say that? Wasn’t it obvious? Wherever you turn head, you would see cam whores so busy taking pictures of themselves as if there was an on going photo shoot for a sexy magazine. tee hee! All you have to do is to look for a nice angle where you could take your shot like there was no other people in that place aside from you. Yup, believe me. The place was so incredible and magnificent.

caramoan islandas if we’re the only people there huh!

After an hour of taking beautiful shots, the water finally went high. We were able to enjoy swimming! Yey! After a few minutes of dipping in the water, we left the place so that we could reach Mt. Tabgon before sundown. The trip was like forever! From Manlawi Sanbdar to the mountain where the Mother of Peace Grotto can be found took us around an hour and a half.


Surviving the Trip to Caramoan

Going to Bicol, we took the Philtranco bus at the Pasay Station. Our trip was scheduled at 8:00pm of the 4th day of April. Since there were some road improvements going on in some provinces like Quezon, we arrived at Naga City bus terminal station at exactly 7:00 am. (3 hours late, super sakit sa p*et!) After having our breakfast and booked a trip to Manila, we headed to the Filcab terminal which can be found accross SM Naga. The bus terminal is located behind the mall. So going to Filcab terminal from the bus terminal was a just a few steps away.:)

camarines surNaga City Bus Terminal

There were many passengers going to Sabang that time but there were only a few vans. MIL decided that we take a taxi instead so that we would be able to catch the last trip at 1pm. The taxi driver of a Revo we found in front of SM City, charged us P1500 for the trip. But if we would base on his meter, it should have only cost us P750. πŸ˜€ We reached Sabang at around 11:30am, that was just an an hour and a half of travel.

Caramoan Islands

Sabang Port

Hubby and I looked for the registration area but what we only found was a long queue of people at the back of the Filcab terminal. There was a man who was manning the registration. The schedule of trips to Guijalo Port had been changed due to the big number of passengers at that time. But the regular schedules are as follows: 5:30 am, 7 am, 9am, 11 am and 2pm. I never thought that many people would also spend their Holy Week in Caramoan. πŸ˜€ After spending around 20 minutes of queueing, we were able to list our names and got the paper tickets. FINALLY! All we have to do was to wait for the boat “HARRY IV”. For how long, no one knew….

Caramoan IslandsHubby queueing for the registration

Caramoan IslandsPassengers queueing for boarding ;D

caramoan islandManong Porter; the man in black

If you want to have a good seat on the boat, let Manong Porter take your bags to the boat. The porters save seats for passengers too. It’s up to you how much tip would you give him. πŸ™‚ All of them were nice and accommodating.

Caramoan IslandThe floating boat

On 2010, passengers were being carried by the porters on their shoulders during low tide. But since last year, there were some men who made a floating boat (I am not that sure if that’s how they call it) that could transport the passengers to the boat. Each passenger needs to pay P10 for that service, to those men in red. Out of curiosity, I asked them why there’s only one. According to them, making that thing had cost them P60,000. Yep, because those pvc drums used as floaters were kinda expensive.

Caramoan IslandMen in red

caramoan islandThe place is secured and safe: Soldiers nearby

caramoan islandNow ready for boarding

caramoan islandlife jackets on boat

We left Sabang Port at around past one. Another 2 hour trip on the boat to Guijalo Port. Gosh! Pudpod na wetlocks ko! Imagine, going to Caramoan was like a “penitensya” already. πŸ™‚ Manila to Naga by bus: 11 hours, NagaΒ  to Sabang: 1 1/2 hours, SabangΒ  to Guijalo Port: 2 hours, Guijalo Port to Caramoan town proper: 20-30 minutes. Should this be considered as Visita Iglesia?! πŸ˜€

Camarines SurOn our way to Guijalo Port from Sabang Port

Who wouldn’t get sleepy in a two hour boat ride?! Parang duyan lang eh. πŸ˜‰ There’s nothing much to see aside from the grassy mountains on the left side (looks like NZ right?) and endless body of water on the right side. We were so thankful that the waves were kinda good to us. The ocean was calm on our way to Guijalo Port.

Camarines SurDocking at Guijalo Port

Camarines Surat the Guijalo Port

Upon reaching the place, you have to pay P5/pax environmental fee to the staff that can be found at the Caramoan Feeder Port Area. We were picked up by Kuya Allan, the owner of Caramoan Bed & Dine, by his non airconditoned old toyota fx. He charged us P300. But you can rent a trike to the town proper for a P150. It took us around 20-30 minutes of reaching the town proper. Finally, after a very loooong trip, we can now relax and have some rest!

camarines surCaramoan Town Proper

cheap accommodation in CaramoanCaramoan Bed & Dine

We checked in at Caramoan Bed & Dine’s Pension House. Aside from the Pension House, rooms are also available here which are quite affordable. After we had our late lunch, we took a short walk and bought some stuff. MIL and SIL bought fruits at the nearby market while hubby and I bought fried isaw along the street and some ice cramble… πŸ™‚ Super solved. We also went to the Caramoan church, the Parish Church of St. Michael the Archangel. This church was put up by the Franciscan missionaries who wanted to spread the good news in the late 16th century. The church has a mezanine where in the public can go to and see the wonderful view of Caramoan Peninsula, which we were not able to do. Next time, we’ll give it a try… πŸ˜€

caramoan tripSt. Michael The Archangel Parish

Camsur Escapade on Holy Week

Since SIL will be home this Holy Week and decided that Camsur would be our next destination, I made a research about it. None of us has been there yet, meaning… no tour guides. πŸ™‚ So I thought that reading would at least help us in some ways. Our initial plan was to go there by plane, actually we already booked last year, but Zestair cancelled all of their flights to Naga for an unknown reason at all. Maybe you already know how it feels like huh… 😦

Of course, Caramoan shouldn’t be missed! πŸ™‚ After having some research, I made a tentative itinerary for 6 days. Mahaba ba? πŸ˜‰ Well, I am not sure if it could be strictly followed… but I guess having this on hand would be a great help to all of us to keep track our schedule. So far, this is what I had showed to SIL and MIL:

Day 1 :

Arrival in Naga
Hotel Check in

Day 2:

(am) Donsol, Sorsogon: Whale Shark Watching/Interaction
(pm) Legazpi: Embarcadero Lighthouse Viewdeck + Daraga: Cagsawa Ruins

Day 3:

Going to Caramoan
Island Hopping Tour

Day 4:

Caramoan Island Hopping/
Shrine of our Lady of Peace
Hardcore Caving at Culapnit Cave

Day 5:

Going Back to Naga
Wakeboarding/ Daytour at CWC
Buy Pasalubong

Day 6:

Departure to Manila

I already checked for the rates of the activities included in our itinerary. It’s all based on the blogs I had read which were posted on 2010. Well, there might have been some changes now but at least it would serve as a guide right?

Whale Shark Interaction:
Admission – P100/pax
Boat – P3500/group (max of

Caramoan Island Hopping:
4 islands – P1500 (magkakalayo daw ang mga islands)
additional island – P500
8 islands – P3500

Hardcore Caving:
Fee – P20/person
tricycle fare to the cave & back – P200
tour guide fee – P200
use of gas lamp – P250
tip to cave exploring assistants – P40/person

MIL had our reservation at Caramoan Bed & Dine. I haven’t found any reviews about this place though. But if you’re looking for other accommodations in Caramoan, check this site.

And what awaits us this Holy Week? Oh my…. these photos were like talking to me! XD

donsol, sorsogonwhale shark watching

legazpi, bicol

Embarcadero Lighthouse Viewdeck

Daraga, AlbayCagsawa Ruins

CamsurCaramoan Islands

Mother of peace Grotto in CaramoanGrotto of Mother of Peace

Underground riverKulapnit Cave

CamsurWakeboarding at CWC

Based on what I had read, most of the beaches near Gota beach will be closed for the shooting of Survivor. So, do you think we would be able to see the true beauty of Caramoan if it is prohibited to the Filipinos? Strange isn’t it? Filipinos are prohibited to set foot on his own land. Tsk tsk tsk…. It’s not only for a year but for so many years. 😦 Should we need a dialogue to the Camsur government?

Camsuroff limits??

A Taste of Taiwanese Dishes at Shang Tsu

So after being idle for a while, I decided to keep myself busy again in writing posts here on my blog. Oh, during the past months I was so busy doing lots of things, most of the time I was online but can’t drop by on wordpress for I can’t think of anything to write. Yeah… can’t think. πŸ˜€

Two weeks ago, hubby and I, together with my youngest sissies, went to Shang Tsu. It’s a Taiwanese Restaurant located in Tomas Morato. It’s not that I like Taiwanese food, but since I was to able to get the deal from MetroDeal (yes, t’was my first time to buy online and guess what, I bought 8 vouchers!), there’s no turning back. Each voucher cost P80 only but its actual worth was P160. Great steal right?

taiwanese restaurant

It was stated in the fine print that only 4 vouchers can be used per table but when we get there, we were able to use all the vouchers. Another thing was, the lady staff never asked for my ID. Oh well, after signing 8x (I wasn’t even sure if my signature were all the same.), our orders had finally arrived. All of us ordered for a set meal plus some appetizers and drinks.

taiwanese restaurantComplimentary Tea

taiwanese restaurantFried Chicken Leg with authentic Taiwanese sides; bestseller (P165)

taiwanese restaurantCrispy Porkchop Rice withΒ authentic Taiwanese sides; bestseller (P165)

taiwanese restaurantStir Fried Beef w/ Black Pepper & Onion with side dishes (P165)

taiwanese restaurantSweet and Sour Fish with side dishes (P165)

taiwanese restaurantAuthentic Taiwanese Sides: century egg, bean curd and mixed veggies

taiwanese restaurantShredded Beef Noodle Soup (P165)

taiwanese restaurantA piece of cake? Nah, it’s a tofu… (P65)

taiwanese restaurantHomemade Sweet Potato Fries (P65)

taiwanese restaurantJumbo Sour Plum Juice (P90) and Taiwanese Milk Tea with ice cream (P70)

It’s my first to drink in a huge glass like this, which I believe is a vase. Sour Plum was of course, sour! The taste was too strong… Hubby had only a few sips to think he was too excited to have the jumbo drink. πŸ˜‰ I hope they could make it a bit sweeter. While for my sisters who ordered for a milk tea (which has no milk literally) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (I guess) were kinda disappointed. Perhaps they were used to the taste of the commercialized milk teas which are more extravagant than this one which was plain and simple. As for me, I am not a tea lover that’s why I have no time checking out the new tea places like Happy Lemon and Cha time.

Picture.. picture!

Of course, my sissies were too busy taking pictures. Can you see the bowl of noodle soup? Hubby was so shocked upon seeing the BIG bowl. heheh.. It’s bigger than my head huh! In fact, it can by shared by four, promise! Apparently, the soup was absolutely delicious and I loved it! It has a generous amount of meat and veggies. Perfect for those who are in a diet. πŸ™‚

I have read from other blogs that the chicken leg is a must try because of its distinct taste. Uhm… actually, I was not that satisfied (same feling when I tried Bonchon Chicken but different reasons, of course). The chicken was a bit dry. I was expecting it to be juicy but it’s not. The only thing I like about the chicken leg was the meat. It was so tasty even without the covering! No need for any sauces.Β  πŸ˜€

A feast on our table *winks

Of course, we can’t leave the place without a group pic. That’s why I approached one of the kitchen staff to take a shot of us but a young and cute gentleman volunteered and insisted that he would take our pic istead. According to him he’s the acting manager of the restaurant and drop by there to help at times. Oh by the way, he was with his wife and new born child. πŸ˜€ That’s why I didn’t bother to ask for his name. lol

Leaving Shang Tsu

We were so full that we were not able to ingest all the foods in our table. So we had the noodles, sweet potato fries and tofu for take out. They were all placed in a paper bag. Eco-friendly resto huh! Nice. πŸ™‚ Since 10pm was their closing time, we decided to left immediately. All in all, our dining experience here was a great one. It’s like having dinner at home. Why? Because the place is quite small and can only accommodate 20-30 persons. Ooops, I super love the homemade fries! New favorite of mine. πŸ˜€

How to get there:

From Cubao, take the jeepney bound to Quiapo then get off in Tomas Morato. Petron Station is the landmark. From the gasoline station, turn right. Keep walking until you see the Creekside Square, before the bridge. Minimum fare only.

From Quaipo, take the jeepney bound to E.Rod/St. Lukes/Cubao then get off in Tomas Morato. Petron Station is the landmark. From the gasoline station, turn left. Keep walking until you see the Creekside Square, before the bridge. Minimum fare only.

SHANG TSU: Unit 5, Creekside Square
74 Tomas Morato Ave., Barangay Kristong Hari, District 4
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

50mm Lens Bracelet by Adam Elmakias

Finally, the package I have been waiting for a week has just arrived yesterday! Yey! I was so happy and excited to open it and see the prize I got from posting an insight at Photoworld Manila fb page. πŸ™‚ The waiting has finally come to an end! πŸ˜€

Lens BraceletAir21 package

Winning a prize was so overwhelming! As soon as I opened the package, the bracelets came out. They are so cute! Of course, I have to keep these away from hubby’s sight because it would be my graduation gift (he’s taking Basic Photography class at FPPF) and at the same time my anniversary gift to him on our 4th year wedding anniversary. hehehe…. That’s why I was so determined to get this from Photoworld. What did I do? Kept my fingers crossed and whispered a prayer while typing my message out of desperation. lol!

Photoworld Manila50mm Lens Bracelet by Adam Elmakias

These bracelets are not available here in the Philippines but you can get it online. As I googled it, here are some details I found about these bracelets.

  • The soft silicone bracelet is a replica of the camera’s lens’ focusing ring.
  • It’s one size fits all.
  • Available in 50mm prime or 24-70mm zoom.
  • Embossed lettering and ridge detail.

Winning these bracelets was like winning in the lottery. I haven’t won anything in the past, not even in the raffle draws during Christmas party. That’s why I am so grateful for being one of the lucky recipients of these cool bracelets! :))


Lens Bracelet from Photoworld Manila

As I was browsing the facebook fanpage of Photoworld Manila, I happened to see the latest promo that was soon to end on that day. In short, it was the last day for the “Pay it Forward” contest where three winners will receive a pair of 50mm lens bracelet.

photoworld manila“Pay it Forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead.

The mechanics were just so simple: The likers were asked to answer this question: Who will be the person you will give the bracelet to? Many had responded and shared their thoughts about it. And since it was not yet too late for me to make a comment, I wrote down my answer hoping to win this stuff so that I have something special to give for my hubby as he graduates from his Basic Photography Class at the FPPF.

Hubby was indeed a collector of such items and I am pretty sure that this bracelet would put a huge smile on his face. And at the same time, it would be our second couple thingy. πŸ™‚ We are both into photography and these bracelets would surely be a symbolic representation of our shared passion.

Well, the announcement was made at 12 midnight of December 5th. I actually forgot about it and had the least expectation that I would win from this contest. Of course, many had joined and shared wonderful insights about the “pay it forward” theme and only 3 lucky winners would be able to get this prize. But I was surprised to see that one of the notifications I received today was from Photoworld Manila. The winners have been announced, not only three but FIFTEEN! Wow! πŸ˜‰ And I was soooo lucky to be included in the list. Yey! Clap clap clap!

All I have to do is to wait for the delivery of these cute bracelets! Can’t wait to gift it to hubby and wear it as well. :)) Thanks Photoworld Manila for being so generous. May you continuously inspire the Filipinos to do well at photography.

Cebu City Tour in One Day

Oh, it’s been a while since my last post…. Quite busy with so many things. But hey, got another one about our last trip. :))

Since I wanted to surprise hubby with a different way of celebrating his birthday, I booked a flight several months ago without him knowing. A few days before his birthday, I decided to let the cat out of the bag so that he can file a leave of absence before our flight. He was kinda “surprised” and “speechless” when he learned about that. YES! πŸ™‚

We headed to Cebu with no hotel in mind to go. That was the first time we went out of town and did not bother to book a hotel. I was too confident that we can find one. So upon reaching Mactan, we decided to drop by Mactan Shrine. I cannot remember how many rides we had taken. From the airport, we took the blue cab with the “Merkado” signboard. Then took another jeepney with the “Punta Engano” signboard. Going to Mactan Shrine was a very long ride. Tip: Ask the driver to drop you off at the Mactan Shrine. It’s before Shangrila Mactan resort.

From the shrine, we rode another jeepney with the “Highway” signboard. Then we asked the driver to drop us off where we could take a jeepney to Cebu. We were instructed then to take a jeepney with “Colon J’ signboard. Wrong jeepney… I thought any COLON signboard would take us to Colon Street. Of course, I was wrong. 😦 Their jeepney routes were quite confusing, most especially to first timers like us. Tsk tsk tsk…

We were able to reach Colon Street. As we were trying to look for Ms Sherry Pension House, the hostel where I was planning to book for, we found Mercedes Hotel. Because of the creepy look of the Pension House, we opted to stay at Mercedes Hotel though it was quite pricey compared to the other one. No regrets! :)) Soon after getting enough rest, we started our walking tour through the help of the map I copied from google map. πŸ™‚

Mactan Shrine

Lapu Lapu Monument

cebu cityMactan Shrine Tablet

Heritage of Cebu

heritage of cebuLapu Lapu and his men (Heritage of Cebu)

cebu city tourYap-Sandiego Ancestral House (P100 entrance fee)

The pricey entrance fee stopped us from getting in. πŸ™‚ Nothing much to see aside from old furniture and stuff that can be seen from the opened door. We opted to take a peek at the Casa Gorordo Museum. Oh boy, no photography allowed. The house was great, old stuff used from the past was preserved with care, from the dining wares to the wooden beds. One of the things I learned: Guests of the family were not allowed to get inside the house, they can only stay at the living room near the house entrance.

cebu city tourCasa Gorordo Museum facade

cebu city tourCasa Gorordo Museum (P40 Entrance Fee)

Cebu City TourEntrance of Fort San Pedro (P40 Entrance Fee)

Cebu City TourFort San Pedro

Cebu City TourInside Fort San Pedro

Cebu City TourMagellan’s Cross

This was where I had fun the most. Colorful candles have meanings according to their color. And manangs wearing yellow blouse and red skirt will dance as they pray for you. You have the choice not to leave the candles. It can be brought inside the Basilica or can be brought at home. Take your pick! Candles were not being lighted here because all of the candles here are being offered in the church, where these candles will all be lighted. πŸ™‚ Manangs here were also approachable. For a souvenir pic, we approached the manang who danced for me to take a picture of us. She’s so kind to do so. :))

Cebu City TourColorful Candles (with meaning) at P10 each.

Cebu City TourBasilica of Sto. Nino

Cebu City TourThe Original Sto. Nino Image

Cebu City TourPilgrim Center (P10 Entrance Fee; No Photography)

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